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Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
Updated: 21 hours 40 min ago

Re-making planets after star-death

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 9:19pm
Astronomers may have found an answer to the 25-year-old mystery of how planets form in the aftermath of a supernova explosion.

Calm lakes on Titan could mean smooth landing for future space probes

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 4:45pm
The lakes of liquid methane on Saturn's moon, Titan, are perfect for paddling but not for surfing. New research has found that most waves on Titan's lakes reach only about 1 centimeter high.

Fastest stars in the Milky Way are 'runaways' from another tiny galaxy

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 1:29pm
A group of astronomers have shown that the fastest-moving stars in our galaxy -- which are traveling so fast that they can escape the Milky Way -- are in fact runaways from a much smaller galaxy in orbit around our own.

Dazzling spiral with an active heart: Barred spiral galaxy Messier 77

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:40am
ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured a magnificent face-on view of the barred spiral galaxy Messier 77. The image does justice to the galaxy's beauty, showcasing its glittering arms criss-crossed with dust lanes -- but it fails to betray Messier 77's turbulent nature.

Surprise methanol detection points to evolving story of Saturn's moon Enceladus's plumes

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 9:41am
A serendipitous detection of the organic molecule methanol around an intriguing moon of Saturn suggests that material spewed from Enceladus undertakes a complex chemical journey once vented into space. This is the first time that a molecule from Enceladus has been detected with a ground-based telescope.

Shocking case of indigestion in supermassive black hole

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 9:39am
A multi-wavelength study of a pair of colliding galaxies has revealed the cause of a supermassive black hole’s case of ‘indigestion’.

'Little Cub' gives astronomers rare chance to see galaxy demise

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 9:36am
A primitive galaxy that could provide clues about the early universe has been spotted by astronomers as it begins to be consumed by a gigantic neighboring galaxy.

Under pressure: Extreme atmosphere stripping may limit exoplanets' habitability

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 8:33am
New models of massive stellar eruptions hint at an extra layer of complexity when considering whether an exoplanet may be habitable or not. Models developed for our own Sun have now been applied to cool stars favored by exoplanet hunters.

Jupiter: Atmosphere and aurora in unprecedented detail

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 8:32am
Subaru Telescope images reveal weather in Jupiter's atmosphere in the mid-infrared. High-resolution thermal imaging of Jupiter is providing information that extends and enhances the information that the Juno mission is gathering in its unprecedented mission to probe that planet's interior and deep atmospheric structure together with details of the magnetosphere and its auroral interactions with the planet.

Shining a light on solar energetic particles and jets

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 8:17am
A big step forward has been made in understanding a 30-year-old mystery in the process of formation of solar flares, report scientists.

Bizarro comet challenging researchers

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:50am
Scientists pursue research through observation, experimentation and modeling. They strive for all of these pieces to fit together, but sometimes finding the unexpected is even more exciting. That's what happened recently to a researcher who studies comets, asteroids and planetary formation and was part of a team that published a study focused on the comet 174P/Echeclus. It didn't behave the way the team was expecting. 

Hubble eyes a powerful galaxy with a password name

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:48am
Not all galaxies have the luxury of possessing a simple moniker or quirky nickname. This impressive galaxy imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the unlucky ones, and goes by a name that looks more like a password for a computer: 2XMM J143450.5+033843.

Pipetting in space

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 8:57am
Astronauts are exposed to the risk of DNA damage in various ways: nearly zero gravity, cosmic radiation and psychologically challenging situations, to name but a few. In the face of current plans for long-term missions to Mars, NASA has been working intensively on this problem. The automated diagnostic procedure is currently being used in some research institutions and enterprises. It is based on a series of biochemical reactions that detect DNA damage in human blood cells.

The Bee-Zed asteroid orbits in the opposite direction to planets

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 3:26pm
In our solar system, an asteroid orbits the Sun in the opposite direction to the planets. It takes 12 years to make one complete orbit around the Sun. Researchers have developed a general theory on retrograde co-orbitals and retrograde orbital resonance.

Astronomers detect orbital motion in pair of supermassive black holes

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:48am
Images made with the continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array detect the orbital motion of two supermassive black holes as they circle each other at the center of a distant galaxy. The two black holes themselves may eventually merge in an event that would produce gravitational waves that ripple across the universe.

Topsy-turvy motion creates light switch effect at Uranus

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 9:34am
Uranus' magnetosphere, the region defined by the planet's magnetic field and the material trapped inside it, gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet, scientists have discovered. It's 'open' in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.

Does dark matter annihilate quicker in the Milky Way?

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:04am
A new theory predicts how dark matter may be annihilating much more rapidly in the Milky Way, than in smaller or larger galaxies and the early Universe.

Origins of Sun's swirling spicules discovered

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 5:14pm
For the first time, a computer simulation -- so detailed it took a full year to run -- shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun's surface and surge upward so quickly.

The curious case of the warped Kuiper Belt

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:40am
The plane of the solar system is warped in the belt's outer reaches, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research. 

Radioactive elements in Cassiopeia A suggest a neutrino-driven explosion

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:27am
Stars exploding as supernovae are the main sources of heavy chemical elements in the Universe. In particular, radioactive atomic nuclei are synthesized in the hot, innermost regions during the explosion and can thus serve as probes of the unobservable physical processes that initiate the blast. Using elaborate computer simulations, a team of researchers was able to explain the recently measured spatial distributions of radioactive titanium and nickel in Cassiopeia A, a roughly 340 year old gas remnant of a nearby supernova.